Winston’s 27 leads fast-breaking ‘Cats past Hahnville

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014


LAPLACE — For Edwin Winston and his East St. John teammates, it would have been seemingly difficult to equal their dominating performance in Tuesday night’s win over H.L. Bourgeois. 

Challenge accepted.

Led by Winston’s 22 first-half points, the Wildcats ran out to a 19-point halftime lead en route to an eventual 79-67 victory over host Hahnville in District 7-5A action. 

“We’re getting better,” said East St. John coach Yussef Jasmine. “We always love playing here at Hahnville. The atmosphere … it’s probably not as big (a game) as a 5A playoff game would be, but it feels like one. The gym is so small and so loud.”

Winston finished with a game-high 27 points after putting on a show in the first half, making the lane his home. 

“I don’t know that I’ve seen a first half for any team that’s looked that good this year,” said Jasmine. “And as for EJ (Winston), I don’t know if I’ve seen any single player play that well. I kept thinking, ‘Ok, he might be getting tired … oh, but I can’t take him out now. There he goes again.’”

Winston said that he had a little extra bounce in his step for the night.

“I was very excited,” he said. “We came out ready to get a win, and to do it we had to take out Hahnville … I’ve never had a half like that. I started out on fire. I cooled off a little, got some fouls on me in the second half. But we got the win.”

Tre’Von Jasmine scored 17 for ESJ (13-4, 4-0). Troy Green added 15 and Raekwon McKnight added 10.

For Hahnville (9-8, 2-2), Todge Scott and Juwan Green each scored 16 points to lead the way. Fountainette Bradley scored 11. Jamal Smith scored 10 and Shawn Mahar added nine. 

The start to the game was delayed after officials arrived at the gym late for the start of the first game of the night between the boys JV teams. 

“It was so frustrating,” said Winston. “Just waiting to play this game. I was so ready.”

Added Yussef Jasmine, “These guys were clearly hungry.”

The Wildcats got rolling after a transition layup by Winston jumpstarted a 14-2 run to end the first quarter. Winston followed up that bucket with a baseline jumper, then a pair of free throws to make it 13-5. A turnaround shot by ESJ’s Anthony Steer inside made it 15-5. 

Timmy Roberts answered for Hahnville, but back came Winston, scoring two buckets in a row to cap the first quarter. 

Jasmine scored to make it 21-10 early in the second, then Monterio Cage found Winston with a nifty pass for another layup.

Winston scored his team’s next three baskets as ESJ was starting to turn it into a rout. With 3:26 left in the first half, Troy Green threw down down a 1-handed slam-dunk to make it 36-15. 

“He’s a monster!” exclaimed Winston with a smile. “Troy came out of nowhere with that putback. I hadn’t seen that out of him before.”

ESJ’s next points came in largely the same fashion, Steer this time slamming one home. Green scored on a long jumper just as time expired in the first half to make it a 40-21 ESJ lead.

“They punched us in the mouth,” said Hahnville coach Jerry Hernandez.  “It was a tough game for us. We’re still working on understanding team play. We can be effective and we showed flashes of that … Can we beat these guys? I don’t know that anyone in our district will. We’re working to get to that point.”

ESJ led by as many as 23 on two separate occasions in the third quarter, but Hahnville began to whittle down the lead in the fourth on the back of a 3-point shooting barrage. Bradley sank two of those and then two free throws to help cut the Wildcat lead to 62-48. McKnight knifed into the lane to score and draw a foul, his 3-point answer pushing the lead back to 15. 

With less than two minutes left, Scott, Bradley and Smith each socked home 3’s for Hahnville, the Tigers making it 76-67. 

But that’s as close as ESJ allowed it to become, the Wildcats holding Hahnville scoreless from there.

The game featured a coaching matchup between two men quite familiar with one another: Hahnville coach Jerry Hernandez coached Yussef Jasmine while the two were at Loyola. 

It was the first-ever meeting between the two coaches.

“It was very special,” said Jasmine. “It’s amazing for me to be in this position. I love what I do … I don’t know if I even talked this much when I was at Loyola, but he’s a guy that helped me realize that as a coach, you can’t be quiet.”